The Douiria, or what’s hidden behind the doors in the Marrakech medina
It’s Marrakech’s latest “museum” to open. Like most museums, the Douiria is a place for the curious. For those who wander the alleys of the medina and wonder what may lie behind unassuming doors. It’s a place for those who like to peer inside the lives of others without being evasive. Unlike most riads in Marrakech which have been heavily renovated from their original state, this place provides a glimpse in to traditional architectural styles and decorative techniques used in the homes occupied by the locals.
I stopped on a grey Sunday afternoon after following the signs that lead down a major medina alleyway (derb), Derb el Hammam in the Mouassine district. Luckily, Patrick the owner was there and he was happy to show me the large courtyard home next door he has recently acquired and is in the process of restoring before opening to the public. It was dusty as men were working away to reveal the building’s original beauty. We didn’t stay long and we were back at the Douiria which was originally connected to the large home and used as the reception space when receiving guests in the home.
Back at the Douira I met Mohamed, a very friendly and knowledgeable guide and we climbed the stairs to the main apartment. He told me about the historical purposes of this space, and talked about what it would’ve been like back when it was used as a reception area for a wealthy family and most recently as a family apartment. He explained the original architecture of the hand-carved wooden doors that decorated the white walls, the dyes created using saffron and natural elements to create the colourful carved stucco, the cedar wood ceilings and doors.
Living in the medina (and in a douiria), I often wonder what lies behind the unassuming doors down the tiny alleyways I wander through the old city doing my shopping, work, or heading out to meet friends. So, for the fellow curious travellers, have a peek inside the main floor my little house hidden up a set of windy, steep stairs!
Visit the Douiria:
5 Derb el Hammam, Mouassine
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Fridays.
+212 (0)524 37 77 92
Cost: 30.00 MAD